Tuesday 20 February 2018


Thank you for your interest in ETT, and for your comments. The opinions shared about ETT are very common in academia, and we find that many people revise their initial opinions about ETT when they analyze the pertinent data. ETT is not a train, and you are correct that ETT has some limitations that trains and busses do not have.

Trains shaped much of early America because trains offered much better transportation value (more benefit, less cost) than “muscle powered” transport. By about 1910 about 90% of passenger travel between major US cities was by train, and trains were indeed “mass transit”.

Then cars and aircraft were invented, and because cars and jets offered much higher transportation value, trains were displaced and now carry less than 1% of people between cities (and about 2% of people within big US cities). This is repeating all over the world; and the market share of bus travel has experienced a similar displacement pattern as trains.

In spite of the commonly used terms coined by train and bus industries, cars and aircraft are the only modes that qualify as “mass transit” in the US. For passenger travel in the US: cars accomplish about 85%, aircraft about 7%, trains and buses combined about 5%, and the balance by boat, ship, or muscle power bikes and walking. The rest of the world is following the transportation induced prosperity of the US. In the EU cars are about 75%, and in Japan about 70% of passenger travel (and increasing the share).

In the developing nations car (and motorcycle) use is growing about 5 times faster than bus and train growth. It is highly proven that people the world over prefer vehicles in a narrow size range. Over 85% of the global car market are for cars with a capacity of 5 seats plus or minus 1 seat. Over 99% of road vehicles do not have bathroom facilities, nor are they capable of accommodating roll-on / roll-off wheelchairs (but cars carry far more disabled people than bus or train).

Are train and bus restrooms ADA compliant? Most of the disabled who I speak with would rather transfer from a wheelchair into a car, than to transfer from a wheel chair to an ADA compliant toilet seat. ETT is more compliant to the true needs of the disabled that the typical car or taxi, and there are many advantages due to very low trip time. ETT has very comfortable reclined seating, and the ability to stop at 15 min intervals as necessary. Ask anyone in a wheel chair if they would rather travel to China in an ADA
compliant aircraft with a trip time of 15 hours, OR in a luxury car sized ETT capsule for 2 hours.

Due to the overwhelming global success of cars, ETT closely follows the principals that have caused cars to displace trains as the “mass transit” mode people clearly prefer. And at the same time, ETT avoids many of the limitations of cars, and also the limitations of trains and jets. Also, ETT consolidates the biggest advantages of cars, jets, and trains. Accordingly ETT will be able to displace cars and jets to niche markets, just as steam
power displaced muscle power, and oil power displaced steam.

Our detailed cost and benefit analysis shows that building ETT capsules large enough to accommodate a busload (or standard 40′ shipping container) would increase the cost by a
factor of 30 (not 3), and only improve the cargo utility from 94% to 98%. Since ETT is automated, no labor savings would result from using larger vehicles, (but people could walk around in the vehicle during non-acceleration times of travel, and visit a restroom).

It is true that a very small percentage of people have to limit their distance to a bathroom to 50′ (or wear an adult diaper). With ETT (just as with a car on the Interstate), people will be within 15 min of a stop — and be able to do so because ETT is not a bus or train — ETT is much more like a car.

We hope you can start to see through the transportation myths perpetuated by the rail industry (who funds much of urban planning research) and see that more people will most likely want to use ETT because of the improvement in cost and speed, than will be put off by not having a bathroom in the vehicle with them (yuck).

Capacity is not an issue for ETT. Due to the advantages of automation applied to the freeway philosophy of many vehicles at very high frequency (ETT vehicle frequency of 10/second @ 350mph), verses a HSR train philosophy of large vehicles at low frequency (10 trains per hour @ 200mph); ETT can move 10 times more people per hour via infrastructure that costs 1/15th as much as HSR track. The capacity of ETT scales with speed up to the cooling limits at about 4,000 mph (superconductor use can extend this limit).

Professors, as educators, should suggest ways to help us get these points across more effectively on the et3 websites, and help avert the US from making a huge leap backwards from cars and jets, to busses and trains. There is a lot of inertia to overcome in education as some educators are too busy teaching to learn, we hope you will consider helping us with the vital task of teaching others (especially other teachers) about the advantages of ETT optimized to best meet the transportation needs of the most people

Daryl Oster
936 words 11/5/2010

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